More than 60,000 expected to attend nine-day Festival of Faith at iconic site
MORE than 60,000 people from all corners of the country are expected to flock to a nine-day Festival of Faith at one of Ireland's most historical churches from today.
A special "Penitential Evening" for peace and reconciliation in Syria will be held in the 800-year-old Cistercian Abbey in Holycross, near Thurles, Co Tipperary, on Friday, September 13.
The event is in response to a request to the Irish bishops from Pope Francis ahead of the annual Solemn Novena in honour of Our Lady of Perpetual Help.
Visitors will have the opportunity to be blessed with the relics of the True Cross, which is situated in one of the abbey's side altars. An army of helpers have been drafted in to help organise the event, including stewards, caterers, musicians, singers, Eucharistic ministers, gardai, clergy and shop attendants. Archbishop Dermot Clifford is expected to attend the festival daily.
Thomas Breen, parish priest at the famous abbey, said: "The faith is still alive in Ireland despite all the negativity and it is heartening to see that. After 35 years of the Novena people are still bringing their crosses to Holycross . . . We are aware of people who suffer in various ways in relation to health, finance, personal problems, relationships, but when they come to the Novena they listen and realise that there are people who are worse off than themselves."